Nenagh Ormond named Munster Senior Club of the Year
The winners of the 2023 Munster Rugby Awards, across the professional and domestic game, have been confirmed and similar to previous seasons, the recipients will be presented with exclusively commissioned Keanes Jewellers Munster Rugby trophies.
Senior Club of the Year - Nenagh Ormond RFC
An historic season for a club in only its 18th season of senior rugby. 2022/23 saw Nenagh become the first Tipperary team in over a century to reach the final of the men’s Bank of Ireland Munster Senior Challenge Cup, seeing off Old Crescent, Garryowen, and Highfield in the earlier rounds before an agonising loss to Young Munster RFC in a classic encounter at Thomond Park.
In the men’s All-Ireland League, a third placed finish in Division 2A secured a play-off place where a two-point defeat away to Blackrock College put an end to their promotion hopes.
Junior Club of the Year - Richmond RFC
2022/23 saw the Canal Bank side crowned Munster Junior League champions for a fifth time in their history, while their men’s side also reached the finals of both the Transfield and Challenge Cups.
Their junior league exploits saw them compete in the AIL Round Robin where a runners-up finish saw them in a promotion/relegation play-off where they were seen off by a late rally from home side Midleton.
Club Age-Grade Section of the Year - Bantry Bay RFC
A highly consistent season for the West Cork outfit was capped off by defeating Carrigaline-Dolphin 19-17 to become Bank of Ireland Munster Clubs Boys U18 Cup champions in an epic encounter at Musgrave Park.
The bulk of this side also represented Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí in the Pinergy Munster Schools Boys Senior Cup where they recorded a first ever win, defeating Glenstal Abbey in UL. On an individual level, out half Dylan Hicks also earned a spot in the Munster Academy.
In the girls age-grade game, the club fielded amalgamated sides at U14, U16 and U18 level with Bantry Bay-Skibbereen winning the U18 Development Cup while Bantry Bay-Dunmanway won both the U14 Cup and the U14 League last season.
School of the Year - Presentation Brothers College
Presentation Brothers College won a Munster Schools Boys Junior and Senior Cup double while there was also success in the McCarthy Cup.
The school puts a strong emphasis on participation in rugby with all first years encouraged to play the sport to complement students’ academic and other extracurricular activities. The school also fields several teams at each age-grade.
In the summer interprovincial series, they were once again well represented at Munster level with six players making the U18 Boys Schools squad with a further three lining out for the U19 Boys.
Club Mini Section of the Year - Shannon RFC
Shannon have a strong Minis section with Sunday mornings from 10am at their home in Coonagh dedicated to their Minis which see hundreds of boys and girls aged 5-12 enjoying playing rugby.
The organising and coaching of such large numbers are led by a passionate team of volunteers, many of whom have been part of the club for generations.
The club hosts open days throughout the year to welcome new players while they also organise a Minis festival on Good Friday which sees over 50 teams and 1200 players from across the country take part.
Referee of the Year - Shane Kierans
Originally from Drogheda, Co Louth, Shane started his refereeing career with the Munster Association of Referees in 2007.
He excelled as a referee locally leading to his appointment to the National Panel of Referees in 2011.
Shane referees to Division 1 Level in the AIL and has also officiated as an Assistant Referee at URC and EPCR Level. In March 2023, he officiated in the Bank of Ireland Munster Senior Challenge Cup Final thriller in Thomond Park between Nenagh Ormond and Young Munster, a final that was decided in the dying seconds.
Shane is always available to assist newer referee colleagues offering them advice, assistance and support based on his considerable experience.
Breakthrough Women's Player of the Year - Kate Flannery
Kate Flannery had a busy season in red during the 2022/23 campaign. The Tipperary native lined out for Munster in the U18 Interprovincial series in September 2022 before going on to represent UL Bohemian in the All-Ireland League a month later.
Flannery then made her senior Munster debut in Round 1 of the 2022/23 Women’s Interprovincial Championship against Ulster in Musgrave Park. She played in all three games including starting the Round 3 clash against Connacht in the Sportsground which saw Munster earn a 50-24 win and second successive Interpro title.
The out-half's rise continued with inclusion in the Women’s National Talent Squad earlier this year. The WNTS programme aims to identify, develop and support female players that have the potential to be selected for national squads and to accelerate their understanding of the demands of rugby at the elite level.
Following on from this Kate was selected in the Ireland U20s squad during the summer making it a memorable season in red and green.
Academy Player of the Year - Ruadhán Quinn
Ruadhán Quinn joined the Munster Rugby Academy at the start of the 2022/23 season just a few months after he helped Crescent College Comprehensive to the Pinergy Munster Schools Boys Senior Cup title.
The back-row made his Munster senior debut in a pre-season game against Gloucester in Musgrave Park which he marked with a try.
Two months later, at the age of 18, Ruadhán became Munster's youngest player of the professional era when he came off the bench against Zebre at Musgrave Park in October 2022. Quinn went on to make two more appearances that season against Leinster and Benetton.
From Clare, the young forward first played club rugby with Ballina-Killaloe RFC, and last season made his All-Ireland League debut with Old Crescent RFC.
Bank of Ireland Women's Player of the Year - Deirbhile Nic a Bháird
Deirbhile Nic a Bháird enjoyed a superb 2022/23 season where she played a pivotal role in Munster’s Interprovincial Championship success.
Deirbhile started at number eight in all three games, winning two Player of the Match awards and scoring four tries throughout the campaign.
The Cork native continued on from her fine form at provincial level to play in all three of the Combined Provinces Celtic Challenge games before being ever-present in green where she played in all of Ireland’s Six Nations games which included four starts.
Bank of Ireland Men's Player of the Year - Jean Kleyn
Jean Kleyn enjoyed a memorable 2022/23 campaign which saw the second-row produce some of his best performances for Munster as the 30-year-old started 24 games throughout the season, more than anyone else in the squad.
This included a remarkable 19 consecutive starts in the second half of the season that culminated in Munster’s URC title win. Jean was also awarded Player of the Match in the away victory over Edinburgh last season.
He made his South Africa debut against Australia in July 2023 before helping the Springboks to World Cup glory in France, featuring in the final win over New Zealand last month